Tag Archives | North Korea

North Korea’s Most Sought-After Consumer Items: Skinny Jeans, Ramen, Porn, And Human Manure

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Wondering what objects people ruled by the world’s most repressive dictatorship would like to get their hands on? A Seoul-based professor who interviewed recent North Korean defectors was told that the hottest consumer goods from the past year include skinny jeans, ramen soup, porn films, and even human feces. The Korea Herald has the story:

Skinny jeans, blue crabs, pig-intestine rolls and even human manure were some of the hottest items among North Korean consumers this year, according to a South Korean professor who has interviewed recent defectors from the communist country.

Kim Young-soo, a political science professor at Seoul’s Sogang University, said in a conference on Tuesday that adult movies, television dramas and instant noodle “ramen” made in South Korea are also selling “like hot cakes” in North Korea.

Skinny jeans refer to slim-fit pants that have gained popularity around the world, said Kim who interviewed about 2,000 defectors this year as part of a research project for the government.

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WikiLeaks Revelation: Israel Bombed Syrian Nuclear Facility in 2007

Israel / SyriaThe Jerusalem Post reports:

Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria, apparently built with North Korea’s help, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said to State Department officials in April 2008, according to Yediot Aharonot quoting a cable recently released by Wikileaks.

The cable is the first official confirmation of the incident, and details the intelligence gathered before the attack, the collaboration between the US and Israel, the government’s move to bomb the Syrian reactor and concern that Syrian President Bashar Assad would retaliate with war, Yediot Aharonot reported, quoting the cable.

“We have avoided sharing this information with you until now for fear of and in an attempt to avoid a conflict,” Rice says in the cable.

“I would like to inform you that the Israeli attack was aimed at destroying the secret reactor built by Syria in a desert area in the east of the country called al-Kibar,” the cable quotes her as saying.

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North Korea ‘Ready For Sacred War’

Sibling refugees during the 1950-53 war, the last time North Korea shelled innocent civilians until last months attack on a Southern Island. Photo: 1951, Major F.V. Spencer, UAF

Sibling refugees during the 1950-53 war, the last time North Korea shelled innocent civilians until last month's attack on a Southern Island. Photo: 1951, Major F.V. Spencer, UAF

Via The Korea Herald:

North Korea on Thursday reiterated its warning of nuclear warfare, with a top North Korean military leader saying that the North is ready to launch a “sacred war” against South Korea on the basis of its “nuclear deterrent.”

According to the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim Young-chun, minister of the People’s Armed Forces, made the warning while reading a report during a ceremony in Pyongyang marking the 19th anniversary of leader Kim Jong-il gaining supreme commandership of the Korean People’s Army (KPA).

“The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK (North Korea) are getting fully prepared to launch a sacred war of justice of Korean style based on the nuclear deterrent at any time necessary to cope with the enemies’ actions deliberately pushing the situation to the brink of a war,” Kim was quoted by the KCNA as saying in the report.

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Images Released Of North Korean Heir Kim Jong Un

New images have been captured of Kim Jong Un, the son of Kim Jong Il, and the new heir in North Korea. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The first public images of Kim Jong Un as an adult, released Thursday by North Korean state media, showed the son of dictator Kim Jong Il bearing a striking resemblance to his father and grandfather, putting to rest one of the biggest mysteries about the nation's heir apparent—what he looks like today. The younger Kim, believed to be 26 or 27 years old, stood out in sea of older faces in video images and a photo of top North Korean officials taken Tuesday at a meeting of more than 1,000 representatives of the ruling Workers' Party.
[continues at The Wall Street Journal] Via Associated Press:
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Kim Jong Il Names Son As Successor, But Who Is He?

This will be the third member of the family to take over the position, but Kim Jong Il’s youngest son is a mysterious one. There isn’t must information about him, other than he is in his twenties and went to school in Switzerland. With the lack of information being provided (not that it’s anything new for N. Korea) it allows room to question if this is his son at all or someone standing in as his son as a way to keep the leadership in the family. PBS News Hour reports:

A major conference of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang has raised the expectation of a handover of power from Kim Jong Il to his youngest son.

The transition appears to have been underway for months. In June, Kim (pictured at right) promoted his brother in law to a top leadership post and made other Cabinet changes in what many considered preparation for turning over the government to his youngest son Kim Jong Un.

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North Korea Tweets

koreatweetAfter the launch of North Korea’s YouTube channel (majority of which are postings of government propaganda) the country has created a Twitter account. It’s nice to see that North Korea is taking a steps towards joining the global internet community, next step, joining the rest of the global community. BBC News reports:

Last Thursday, the North Koreans created a Twitter account – @uriminzok, a shortened version of a Korean word that translates as “our people”.

It already has more than 4,500 followers.

The move to Twitter follows last month’s launch of a North Korean YouTube channel, which now hosts close to 80 videos.

“The North Koreans are technologically literate,” says Hazel Smith, a long-time North Korea researcher at Cranfield University in Britain.

Ms Smith says that the North Koreans have been investing heavily in information technology now for more than 20 years.

“They have a cadre of people who can use modern social networking sites.

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Robot Border Patrol at DMZ

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Photo: Samsung Techwin, SGR-1 gun bot

South Korea has begun using robots to survey and, if necessary, fire at intruders crossing the DMZ line from the North. It is operated by soldiers who verify intruders through audio visual equipment. It is designed to “detect threats,” but with the reliance on human operation, there is just as much room for error as a solider standing guard. From the Telegraph:

The 400 million won (£220,000) unit was installed last month at a guard post in the central section of the Demilitarised Zone which bisects the peninsula, Yonhap news agency said.

South Korea is also developing highly sophisticated combat robots armed with weapons and sensors that could complement human soldiers on battlefields.

The robot uses heat and motion detectors to sense possible threats, and alerts command centres, Yonhap said.

If the command centre operator cannot identify possible intruders through the robot’s audio or video communications system, the operator can order it to fire its gun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

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Pranksters Vote Bieber to North Korea

16 year-old Justin Bieber jumped into the music scene as a heartthrob for young girls. His popularity was the first thing that was hard to understand. Then, although he is a teenage white boy, he was nominated for a BET award.  Now it seems that the public have created their own “unbelievable” news about him, they’ve voted for him to go to North Korea.  AFP via Raw Story reports:

An online contest to decide where Canadian pop star Justin Bieber should go on tour next has been hijacked by a Web prank group that has been encouraging voters to send him to North Korea.

With just a few hours left to vote, North Korea was the top vote-getter on Tuesday in the “My World Tour” contest with more than 625,000 votes, followed by Israel with 608,000 votes and Poland with 513,073 votes.

According to the BBC, the campaign to garner votes for an unlikely tour to notoriously isolated North Korea by the 16-year-old singing sensation was launched by users of the Internet bulletin board 4chan.

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Are North Korea’s “World Cup Fans” Hired Chinese Actors?

korea-fans415Many of the strangest aspects of this year’s World Cup relate to team North Korea. The latest intrigue: were the throngs of “North Korean soccer fans” filling stands in the match against Brazil actually Chinese actors? The London Evening Standard writes:

Perhaps it was their identical red outfits or how their applause was directed by a “conductor” that suggested the North Koreans in the Ellis Park stadium in South Africa were no ordinary fans. FIFA officials and millions of television viewers were surprised when rows of red-clad “North Koreans” took their seats, believing the harsh regime had allowed its citizens freedom to travel.

Although they sang their national anthem loudly, the group tended only to cheer when directed by a man who stood before them like an orchestra’s conductor.

Meanwhile, another party of fans confirmed rumors they were Chinese, having obtained tickets through a Chinese sports PR agency, authorized to sell part of the North Korean allocation of 1,400 seats.

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